Thibaut Pinot might not come from one of the three territories forming the European Region alliance, but he surely feels like home at the Tour of the Alps. Since his first appearance in the stage race organized by GS Alto Garda in 2017, the French climber looked at ease on Tirol, Südtirol and Trentino‘s mountain roads, winning the grand finale in Trento and finishing second overall behind Geraint Thomas.
Pinot took part in the TotA again in 2018, climbing to the podium’s top step in Innsbruck, taking what he describes as “the most important success of my career in a stage race“. Three years after that success, the 30-year-old from Burgundy will return to the Tour of the Alps, from April 19th to 23rd, to find some momentum on the way to the Giro d’Italia after a complex start of the season.
“It’s always nice to come back to a race you conquered, it brings back good memories,” Pinot said. – “The stages at the Tour of the Alps are often short, mountainous, explosive: challenging routes that perfectly fit my strengths. The Tour of the Alps is ideally perfectly before the Giro; therefore, I like it a lot. Doing well at TotA is a good omen for the Giro.“
For Pinot, the Tour of the Alps is not a race like any other: the winner of the 2018 Giro di Lombardia will come to the start in Brixen/Bressanone with clear goals about what awaits him in the five-day event in the Euregio. “The fourth stage from Naturns/Naturno to Pieve di Bono is the decisive one – explains the Frenchman. – In addition to being the longest, it also boasts the highest positive gain. The last climb of Boniprati, only a few kilometres before the finish, is also the toughest of the entire week. It could make big gaps in the General Classification”.
The Tour of the Alps first experimented routes’ profile with limited but challenging kilometres, perfect to enhance the pop of the top riders. “Offering a great show to cycling fans is key. From the athlete’s point of view as well, races like this are more enticing and nervous.”
France will be under the spotlight at the Tour of the Alps with its top cyclists: together with Pinot there will also be Romain Bardet (Team DSM). Not by chance, the Euro-regional race will enjoy extensive TV coverage also in the transalpine territory, where the race will be broadcast on Equipe 21, the TV channel of the most important French sports newspaper, and Eurosport, with two hours of daily live coverage.